FAE2- Electronics

In an earlier post I defined the Fake Authentic Experience (FAE), how corporate squirrels and the big mommy government squirrels are trying to keep us from having a vivid, dangerous, fun and real life.  Anything that might be interesting or cool is homogenized for your protection and mass consumption.  This has been going on long enough now that it’s had a profound effect on younger generations.  Real life is so scary and intense for them that they need to filter everything through electronics.  What a fucking mess.

For old people like me there was power, truth, and joy to be found in live music.  We flocked to concerts and filled ourselves with various pharmaceuticals in order to intensify the experience.  I think I may have seen God once at a Bob Marley concert.  I know I saw Satan at the Mudd Club in 1982.  Over the past couple years I’ve started going to concerts again.  Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, David Alan Coe, etc.  I was appalled at what I saw in the audience.  Everybody under the age of 30 was either on the phone or watching the performance through their digital camera.  For the entire fucking show!  I think the experiences was too real for them.  They needed to filter it electronically in order to make it palatable.  Had they ever seen the Ramones or Black Flag the experience might have killed them.  They were turning the concert into a FAE all by themselves.

In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Much of their life is filtered through the screen of electronic screens.  Music is packaged as videos.  Theater is always TV and movies.  Friendship is based on texts and Facebook pictures.  Life has become ‘virtual’ and ‘virtual reality’ has become the biggest FAE.  I know I sound like a cranky old man, but I’m right.

The most obvious example of this is video games.  I hate video games because they are by definition FAEs.  Why play football or baseball when we can play on the tv instead.  Fake tennis, golf, musical instruments, the list is endless.  If you can do it in the real world, you can do it in the fake one.  There are even games that pretend to be a real world.  Why go get laid when you can just have your fucking avatar do it?  Really?  Pathetic.  And don’t get me started on the violence.  Everyone gets to be a virtual bully and kill something.  Try growing some balls and dealing with real people who’d fight back.  Or maybe try empathy and care for things rather than kill them.  It makes me sick.

The effects of living this FAE life are profound.  By making everything safe and filtered they suck any real joy or fun out of your existence.  They make you stupid, lazy, and easily controlled.  They also blur the moral lines in your brain.  If you spend all day killing things on your computer it can’t help but make you less a caring person.  It also allows you to be rude and inconsiderate.  ‘Virtual’ people will say things in a text or email that they would never say to real person.  We all become less civilized and connected.  In “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” Milan Kundera says that he believes that movies have made love feel trite because every wonderfully romantic moment has been seen before, robbing it if it’s uniqueness. If this is true, FAEs are robbing us of the rest of the world.  I’m not saying get rid of your computer.  They’re wonderful tools.  But make sure to guard your real life before the squirrels make you a ‘virtual person’.  And put down the fucking camera and enjoy the moment instead.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


A Thought on Messiahs

I tend to be skeptical of teachers.  It’s important to have them and I’ve had some good ones.  They can really help you along the path, but only for a short time.  Ultimately you need to go your own way.  The most profound teachers are called messiahs.  The following is paraphrased from “Illusions” by Richard Bach.  I like the imagery.

Once there was a group of creatures that lived at the bottom of a deep and powerful river.  They survived by clinging to rocks and catching little pieces of food that floated by.  Their life was defined by resisting the current.  One of the creatures thought there must be more to life than clinging and grabbing at food.  He decided to let go and see what happened if he just went with the current.  The other creatures thought he was crazy and called him a fool.  They said that the current would surely kill him, and even if it didn’t he wouldn’t be able to catch enough food.  None the less, one day he said his goodbyes and let go.  Initially the current bounced him into rocks and bruised him up.  But he refused to cling again and eventually the current lifted him off the bottom and into the stream.  There was plenty of rich food and he knew joy and beauty as it carried him through the world.  Occasionally he would see other groups clinging to the bottom as he passed.  He decided to drop down and tell them what he had discovered.  When they saw him they thought it was a miracle.  A creature like them who could live without clinging and ride the current.  When he tried to explain that they could do it to they only cried ‘Messiah” and clung all the harder.  Disgusted, he launched himself back into the current, leaving them to pass down stories of the saviour who had visited them.

I really like this story.  I hope that someday I can let go too.


The Fake Authentic Experience

I think everybody (and by everybody I mean me and my assistant, Veronica) would agree that large corporations and the governments they elect are the primary source of squirrels in our society.  One of the things that they demand is a bland conformity.  It serves two purposes:  It makes the sheep easier to control, and it makes it easier to sell them large volumes of crap.  There’s a tremendous cost, an eradication  of creativity, when you’re surrounded by identical details all day long and it has two long term societal effects.  One I call the Great Homogenization, and I’ll look at that in a later post.  The second is the Fake Authentic Experience or FAE.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts the squirrels use fear to accomplish their busybody agendas.  They use the media to keep everybody nervous about all sorts of things.  One of their constant messages is that different is dangerous.   There is a ‘Real America’ that’s made up of white heterosexual christian families with two kids that shop at Walmart, vacation at Disneyland, and work for Megamicrocorp in some capacity.  Anybody that doesn’t fit into this narrow definition is suspect and might be dangerous.  Artists, minorities, immigrants, bikers, the homeless, hippies, punks.  I could continue this list for hours but you get the idea.  Any member of these groups might beat you up or steal your wife or question your assumptions.  And they’re certainly bad for the children!  Needless to say, this is a load of bullshit but it works, and it works well.

There’s a problem, however, that the squirrels face with this agenda.  It’s that all these weirdoes are infinitely more interesting.  They hold a siren like appeal to even the narrowest mind.  Oh, the conflict.  Everything is dangerous and bad for the children, but it also seems like some of those people are living fuller lives, having a lot more fun, and eating much better food.  Corporate squirrels certainly don’t want their sheep to actually try real life and don’t want their constant message of anxiety exposed as fraudulent.  They do want to make a few bucks and control and mitigate that interest.  So they invented the FAE!  The FAE is a corporate attempt to take interesting experiences and sanitize them for ‘Real Americans’ so that they can pretend to be different without any risk. Let me give you some examples…

Most cities have coffee houses where artists and writers hang out and drink exotic blends of coffee or tea.  Most ‘Real Americans’ would be terrified to actually go sit next to the kid scribbling madly in a notebook between sips of espresso but it is certainly more intriguing than Mcdonalds.  Here comes Starbucks to the rescue.  In Starbucks you have Bob Marley on the soundtrack. You have a cartoon on the wall that isn’t quite Jean-Michel Basquiat. You have a photo montage that isn’t quite Robert Rauschenberg. You’re given high levels of better tasting caffeine and you believe you’re about to have an avant-garde moment.  But you’re actually in a strip mall outside Akron, and if an unwashed kid starts loudly reading his poetry he’ll be quietly whisked away.  You’re having a FAE.

Chinese food is tasty and frequently spicy.  Chinese people are foreign and who knows what might be in those dishes, and who can read that huge menu anyway.  PF Changs Chinese Bistro to the rescue!  Right down at the mall you can go in to the psuedo-urban bistro and have bland fried rice and egg rolls.  See how sophisticated we are!  Hurray FAE.  Can you imagine the reaction if PF Changs brought out the Dim Sum tray with chicken feet on it?  That wouldn’t be safe at all.  Outside a lot of suburban malls are rows of these places.  Mexican, but no taquerias or menudo.  Japanese, but no fried shrimp heads.  You get the idea.

Bikers are cool.  Just ask any kid.  So now every mall store has biker t-shirts and chain wallets and heavy boots.  Everything you need to live the biker lifestyle without the dangerous motorcycle.  Tattoos are cool.  Now there are Ed Hardy t-shirts everywhere, but not too many Ed Hardy full body art pieces.  Martial Arts are cool, but there are a lot more people wearing Affliction clothes than there are people working out on a mat somewhere.  All these are FAE.

I live in SF.  Along with New York we are the very symbol of all that is un-American.  (Never mind that we live here too and probably live up to its ideals more fully.)  Tourists come here and sometimes have difficulty because they don’t understand that we aren’t sanitized for their protection.  They treat SF like some version of Disneyland.  There’s Chinese Land, Mexican Land, Hippie Land, Homosexual Land, Overpriced Tourist Wharf, etc.  I recently saw a family standing and gawking at the gay couples in the Castro.  Two wonderfully aware men saw them, embraced each other enthusiastically, and then blew them a kiss.  They literally ran away down Market St. dragging their little brats behind them.  The reality of the situation was just too much for them.

I’m sure you see what I mean by now.  Look around.  They’re everywhere.  Beware.  Your lifestyle might be next.  Living a real, vibrant, and slightly dangerous life is the best revenge!  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion my weird friends.

– Archbishop Angus


What God Might Ask

Here’s something to ponder.  Ask your religious friends.  It certainly set me to thinking…

If God appeared to you and asked you for a sacrifice to show your faith, would you give it?  I think most people would.

If God put you through some trials would you gladly do as asked?  Again, I expect so.

If God asked you to bleed for him, would you?  There is plenty of evidence for that.

If God asked you to kill another in his name, would you do it?  Historically not much problem there.

Is there anything you would not suffer for your God?

What if God put his face right in front of yours and demanded that you be happy all through your life?  What if he insisted on joy instead of suffering and pain.  Could you do that?  Would you even try? 

Is it possible that by interpreting God as demanding suffering we are short selling him with our own need for fear?  I think a loving omnipotent God would ask for joy, but we might not be willing to do that.  Just a thought.